Djindang means star in Noongar language, the language of my blood people, Jabararra is where I grew up and right now the fields of Mulla Mullas are starting to pop up just like the canola fields here on Wadawurrung Country. The white are symbols of stars and there is one connected line, a beautiful singular pathway with many twists and turns– the songlines of the night sky that connect me to both places and of course connect us to each other.
Kiri Tawhai is a proud Noongar and Tuwharetoa woman who grew up on Yaburara Country amongst the red dirt and the spinifex and the beautiful islands of the Dampier Archipelago. A mother of three, an Aunty, a sister, a daughter, a cousin and a niece. Kiri has had a lifelong love of art in all forms and graduated Deakin University with a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts in 2018. She is an Artist, Curator, Collaborator and Mentor, who has had a collaborative artwork exhibited in Tokyo, curated multiple exhibitions and held a solo show here in Geelong. A multimedia artist, Kiri is a story teller with a passion for learning and sharing knowledge and respecting old ways of knowing and doing within a contemporary world.
I have lived and worked on Wadawurrung Country, here in Geelong for six years. I have loved getting to know both the Country and the Community. I am still shocked at just how different the colours of Country are. I grew up in red dirt and the bluest skies and the biggest and brightest night sky you could ever imagine. In the Pilbara in springtime, the wildflowers would come out and the never-ending red changed to fields of the most beautiful purple, the native Mulla Mulla. Here at about the same time, to mark the end of that freezing cold the canola fields pop up everywhere. I wanted to capture that these two very different places are connected. The design painted atop the contrasting fields is my songline, my path. The larger concentric circles are symbols for Djindang (Noongar word for stars) we are all connected under the night sky. Through these stars I am connected to my ancestors and their knowledge and their songlines. The line work is a repeated motif in my artwork and if you look closely you can see that it is one winding line, this is my path. In life we have one in and one out and we get to create our path with twists and turns and what ever we wish to make it.
This work, Djindang Walking from Jabararra to Wadawarrung (2021) by Kiri Tawhai, was commissioned for the 2021 ADSA Confernence, "Performers, Makers, Methdologies: Crafting Conditions for Decentring Scholarship and Pedagogy in Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies, and Dance". It is reproduced here with the kind permission of Deakin University.